This week's letters
MBAs lay down level of abilities
I thought the MBA article was rotten. While it is important to stimulate debate about the value of MBAs, its argument was based on a false premise.
It assumed that MBA graduates are sought after because they provide organisations with competitive advantage. In fact, the MBA is - like most qualifications - more a marker of general competence and ability, than a demonstration of expertise in a particular field.
There is a good argument that MBA studies should include HR, but I expect that other professions, such as law and accountancy, could make equally strong claims for their fields. I'd be surprised if firms employ MBA graduates, or sponsor their training, simply because they expect to make additional profit from their investment.
Imagine the management team of the firm you work for has the choice between an MBA graduate whose studies focused heavily on accountancy, or one that overloaded on HR. Which one will provide greater competitive advantage? I would defy anyone to provide a definitive answer. However, if you asked people on the shopfloor, they would probably say that managers need is to understand the business better.
Incidentally, I work in the not-for-profit sector, paid for my own MBA and landed a great job when I graduated.
Director of resources, Broxbourne Borough Council
Stress control starts at the top
The survey on stress management by the Industrial Society Learning and Development Council (News, 25 June) raises some fundamental issues.
The inability of managers to help employees cope with stress only tells part of the story. The management of stress should start at the very top of the organisation. Without high-level support, middle managers are left exposed and will struggle to manage their own stress levels let alone be able to develop structures to support their staff.
There is an assumption in this survey that an organisation's only responsibility is to equip managers and employees with better coping skills. But what about the root organisational causes of stress?
Organisations should look in the mirror and examine their approach to work-life balance, internal communications, career development opportunities and workplace harassment or bullying, to name just a few potential areas of concern.
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